The Burnt World of Athas

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What is Doomspace? An original D&D Beyond article about the Light of Xaryxis adventure - featured in the 2023 release of Spelljammer - included a map with the name “Athaspace,” hinting at a connection to Dark Sun. However; the article was updated to replace “Athaspace” with “Doomspace.” Lead designer Chris Perkins suggested Doomspace is a new addition, not a renamed Athaspace. This “new” wildspace system includes elements from Dark Sun but avoids direct references, amidst concerns about updating the setting’s themes of oppression and stereotypes. Speculation was further added by Ray Winnenger’s comment that a classic D&D setting would have a cameo in an upcoming product with many believing that this was a reference to Dark Sun in the Spelljammer adventure. Including “Athaspace” along with Dark Sun monsters in the adventure as the cameo would have added a narrative potentially ending the Dark Sun setting.

A map of spheres floating in the Astral Sea with names, Realm Space, Wildspace system, Athaspace and other items like dead god and astral dominion.
Athaspace by CoupleOfKooks

Below is a narrative of the events that could have transpired to turn Athaspace into Doomspace as written in chapter 5 of The Crimson Sphere - a Dark Sun/Spelljammer crossover book written by Adam Miller and the Pristine Tower Development Group.

You can listen to Robert(Raddu) and Jesse talk about the Crimson Sphere on the Bone, Stone, & Obsidian Podcast.

You can listen to a reading of this special features on the BSO podcast feed.

Part 1: The Prophecies

In the vast and barren lands of Athas, a place where the unforgiving sun beats down on the parched earth, a profound unease stirs. The air is thick with an impending sense of doom, as if the very cosmos itself is holding its breath. We begin our tale in this world, where seers, astrologers, and diviners, normally dismissed as mere harbingers of superstition, start to experience visions so vivid and terrifying that they cannot be ignored. These are not just fleeting glimpses into the future; these are harrowing premonitions of a cataclysm so immense it threatens to unravel the very fabric of the universe.

The prophecy speaks of “angry gods,” “the shattered sphere,” and the ominously named “Eye of Doom.” These words echo across the Tablelands, instilling fear and awe in equal measure. The astrologers, usually seen peering into their charts and stars for benign predictions, now wear expressions of deep horror. Their eyes, having gazed upon the unspeakable, cannot unsee the chaos that is to come.

In every corner of Athas and Athaspace, the planets and moons around Athas, the prophecy spreads like wildfire. In the bustling markets, in the secretive chambers of the sorcerer-kings, and in the secluded monasteries of the preservers and defilers, in the courts of the void wardens, the same dire warnings emerge. The visions are consistent in their message: a cosmic disaster of unprecedented scale is imminent. Those that live in Athaspace balk at what could possibly shatter the Spherewall, the cosmic boundary that has, for eons, encapsulated their worlds in a protective embrace? The answers vary, but the consensus points to an event so catastrophic that it defies comprehension. Some speak of a rupture caused by celestial forces beyond understanding, others whisper of a rebellion by the gods themselves, furious at a world that has strayed too far from their teachings.

And then there is the Eye of Doom. This term alone conjures images of an all-seeing, malevolent force, a cosmic entity that could swallow worlds whole. The seers scream of skies raining shards of burning ice, of planets and moons flung into a collision course with an imploding sun. This is no ordinary calamity; this is the end of all they know. Among the learned, there is debate and skepticism. Could this truly be the fate of their world? Yet, as the reports mount, with each seer and astrologer recounting the same apocalyptic vision, even the most skeptical begin to wonder if there might be truth to these omens. This is how our story begins, not with a battle or a quest, but with a prophecy. A prophecy that foretells the unravelling of the cosmos, the shattering of the celestial sphere, and the arrival of a cataclysm that will redefine the very essence of existence. In this world, where survival is already a daily struggle, the inhabitants of Athas must now face the possibility of a fate far worse than anything they have ever known.

A map of spheres floating in the Astral Sea with names, Realm Space, Wildspace system, Doomspace and other items like dead god and astral dominion.
Doomspace by CoupleOfKooks

Part 2: Doomspace

As we delve deeper into the narrative of Doomspace, a cataclysmic event unfolds, one that not only reshapes the cosmos but also redefines the very essence of existence in Athas and beyond. This is the story of the Spherewall’s shattering, an event so monumental that its repercussions echo through every corner of the known universe.

Imagine a cosmic boundary, the Spherewall, long believed to be the unbreachable shield of Athaspace. For eons, it has stood as a silent sentinel, guarding the world against the unknown vastness of wildspace. But now, in a moment of unparalleled upheaval, this celestial barrier fractures. It’s not a mere crack or a simple breach; the Spherewall shatters, its fragments hurtling through space, leaving a trail of cosmic debris in their wake.

The immediate aftermath is nothing short of apocalyptic. The largest planet of the system, the gas giant Rajaat, vanishes without a trace, as if swallowed by an unseen cosmic predator. This disappearance sends shockwaves across the sphere, disrupting the delicate celestial dance of planets and moons. Their orbits become erratic, some colliding, others flung into the dark unknown.

And then, there’s the sun, the very heart of Athaspace, the crimson sun that has bathed the world in its relentless glow. In a spectacle that defies imagination, it collapses into a black, all-consuming vortex. This is not a slow fade or a gradual dimming; this is a sudden, violent implosion, a celestial body devouring itself, leaving in its place a void that threatens to consume everything around it.

The seers, once ridiculed for their wild prophecies, now watch in horror as their visions come to life. They speak of chaos unleashed, of skies raining shards of burning ice, a meteorological nightmare that turns the heavens into a battlefield. These are not just poetic musings; they are real, tangible events unfolding above.

But what could cause such a catastrophic series of events? The theories are as varied as they are terrifying. Some speak of the Messenger, a cosmic entity whose collision with the sun triggers this chain reaction. Others whisper of the gods, breaking through the Spherewall in a divine act of retribution against a world that has forsaken them. Then there are those who believe it to be the work of Rajaat, lashing out from the Hollow, or the undead sorcerer-monarch Dregoth, seeking godhood through the sun’s destruction. And amidst these theories, there’s the chilling possibility of the sun birthing a primordial dragon, the Eye of Doom, an entity of unimaginable power and hunger.

In this chaos, the Black Gulf, a mysterious expanse once just inside the Spherewall, undergoes its transformation. Some say it will vanish entirely, while others believe it will simply change form, its nature as enigmatic as ever.

This is the moment where the familiar universe of Athas ceases to exist, replaced by a realm of uncertainty and terror. The shattered Spherewall, now a cloud of massive crystal shards, forms a new celestial landscape, a haunting reminder of the cataclysm that has just occurred. The stars, once distant and benign, now shine through this prism of destruction, their light a ghostly echo of a universe forever changed.

In the immediate aftermath of the Spherewall’s cataclysmic shattering, the cosmos of Athas is thrust into a state of unparalleled chaos, a celestial maelstrom that tears at the very fabric of reality. Let’s journey through this turmoil, much like a historian sifting through the remnants of a great civilization, to piece together the visceral reactions and the struggle for survival in a universe turned upside down.

The skies above Athas, once a predictable tapestry of celestial movement, are now a whirlwind of cosmic fury. Planets and moons, untethered from their age-old orbits, careen through space on new, perilous paths. These are not mere shifts; these are violent, unpredictable hurtlings that turn the once-orderly cosmos into a dangerous and uncharted expanse. Imagine, if you will, the sheer terror as the inhabitants of these worlds gaze upward to see their celestial neighbors moving erratically, threatening collisions that could spell doom for all.

Amidst this chaos, comets and asteroids, previously held at bay by the now-shattered Spherewall, join the fray. Like cosmic missiles, they hurtle toward the remaining worlds, their impact not a matter of if, but when. These are not just bright streaks in the night sky; they are harbingers of destruction, each one capable of unleashing energy that could obliterate cities, or even entire civilizations.

Down on the planets, the reaction is a mix of awe, horror, and disbelief. In cities and villages, people gather to watch the skies, their faces illuminated by the eerie glow of the celestial dance of death above. Elemental Temples are filled with the faithful and the fearful alike, seeking answers, solace, or perhaps a way to appease the angry primordials or unknown gods they believe have unleashed this fury upon them.

In the halls of power, the sorcerer-kings and queens, the rulers who once held sway over their realms with an iron grip, now find themselves facing a threat that cannot be conquered by armies or magic. Their once-unquestionable authority is challenged by a force that cares not for borders or thrones.

And in the remote monasteries and secluded retreats, the preservers and defilers, those who draw their power from the very essence of Athas, feel a seismic shift in their magic. The energy they once harnessed now fluctuates wildly, mirroring the instability of the cosmos itself. Amidst the general populace, the chaos breeds not just fear, but also wonder. There are those who see in this cataclysm a sign, a call to action, perhaps even an opportunity to rise from the ashes of the old world and forge something new, something born from the crucible of cosmic upheaval.

But for many, the overriding emotion is one of existential dread. The universe they knew, with its rules and rhythms, is gone, replaced by a wild, unpredictable, and unforgiving cosmos. This is a universe where the very laws of nature seem to have been rewritten, where the familiar constellations are replaced by a night sky of roaming stars and rogue planets.

This is the immediate aftermath of the Spherewall’s shattering and the cataclysm of the Dark Sun: a time of unparalleled chaos, a test of survival for civilizations across the cosmos, and a stark reminder of the fragility of existence in the vast, uncaring expanse of space. It is a time when the very notion of reality is questioned, and the struggle to find a place in this new, chaotic universe becomes the ultimate quest for all.

Part 3: The Fates of the Mighty

In the tumultuous aftermath of the Spherewall’s shattering and the sun’s implosion, the fates of the mighty void-wardens and those that resist them take center stage. In this cosmic upheaval, the actions and destinies of key figures become the stuff of legend. Their stories like those of the sorcerer-monarch on Athas are not just personal sagas, but narratives that reflect the broader changes and challenges of this new era of Doomspace. Each one, a thread in the grand tapestry of transformation and survival.

Consider Arun, the Warden-King, a figure of immense power and authority. As the crimson sun implodes, his world is thrown into disarray. With little warning and fewer options, Arun makes a chilling choice. In a desperate bid for survival, he turns to necromancy, an art both feared and reviled. His ziggurat-ship, once a symbol of his rule, becomes a vessel of death, haunted by the souls of the undead. Arun, consumed by his quest for prolonged life, feeds on the lifeforce of both slave and noble. His templars, now commanders of a growing undead horde, strike terror into the hearts of all they en counter. Arun’s descent into darkness is not just a personal tragedy; it symbolizes the extremes to which the mighty will go in their struggle to retain power and defy the inevitable.

Dabi: A Coup and A New Reign

Dabi’s story is a tale of political intrigue and treachery. As the Eye of Doom replaces the sun and chaos reigns, Dabi’s chief templars make a bold move. In a swift coup, they overthrow the ailing warden-king, elevating Munira Koz to the throne. Munira, as the new warden-queen, acts decisively, relocating the mobile city-state Sentinel to Fyreen, what some call Athas. Her first act as ruler is a mass evacuation, turning the residents of Balic into subjects and slaves. Dabi’s tale is a testament to the fluid nature of power and authority in the face of cosmic upheaval.

Hananka and The Illithids: A Clash of Titans

Hananka’s narrative is one of escape and confrontation. As the asteroids of the Sextant disperse, Hananka abandons Hopa, seeking refuge aboard his hammership. But the illithids, those insidious beings of the void, lie in wait. In this encounter, Hananka, presumed dead, becomes a symbol of the struggle between the old powers of the cosmos and the emerging forces in the post-cataclysm world.

The Dragon of Yisheen: A New Menace

The Dragon of Yisheen emerges as a formidable and mysterious new player. Massive and terrifying, it repels evacuation efforts, leaving only fear and speculation in its wake. This creature, possibly a void warden returned, represents the unknown dangers lurking in Doomspace, the unforeseen consequences of a universe in turmoil.

Kharag: The Pirate Leader

Kharag’s rise from slave to pirate admiral embodies the chaos and opportunity born from the cosmic upheaval. Leading a motley fleet, Kharag becomes a figure of rebellion and survival, his actions a reflection of the desperate times.

Vylrila Void-Dancer and Zol: Enigmas of Doomspace

Vylrila Void-Dancer, the half-elf, quickly ascends to power, commanding a fleet of elves in this new and dangerous realm. Her story is one of cunning, adaptability, and leadership, resonating with those who find themselves adrift in this altered universe. Meanwhile, Zol’s mysterious disappearance and transformation add layers of mystique and speculation. His journey, rumored to be tied to the Eye of Doom, speaks to the broader quest for understanding and redemption in a cosmos that has lost its familiar bearings.

These figures, each in their way, embody the tumult, the struggle, and the resilience of those living in the shadow of cosmic catastrophe. Their stories are more than mere tales of survival; they are sagas that define the very essence of Doomspace - a realm where the old rules no longer apply, and where every action, every decision, can alter the course of history. In this new era, legends are born, myths are forged, and the fates of the mighty become the stories that will be told and retold for generations to come.

Part 4: The Transformation of Worlds

In the wake of the Dark Sun’s implosion, the cosmos undergoes a metamorphosis of mythic proportions. Planets and moons, the ancient celestial players in Athas’ sky, are now cast in a drama of survival, transformation, and desperation. Let’s journey through this newly reformed universe, where the familiar becomes alien, and the struggle to adapt is not just a tale of survival, but an epic saga of resilience and ingenuity. ## Valt: Torn Apart Valt, once known as Guthay, is poised on the brink of a cosmic tragedy. This moon, long held in a stable orbit, now finds itself inexorably drawn towards the Eye of Doom’s merciless grasp. As it edges closer to this voracious vortex, the spectacle that will unfold is both awe-inspiring and horrifying. Valt is destined to be torn apart, its very essence consumed by the insatiable maw of the vortex. This cataclysm will be visible to all who dare to watch, a dramatic display of destruction that will echo across the cosmos.

As Valt meets its end, it will leave behind a glowing ring of dust and debris, an ephemeral halo that serves as a stark reminder of its once-stable existence. This haunting ring, formed from the remnants of Valt, will stand as a poignant symbol of the immense forces now at play in the universe. It will be a beacon of loss and transformation, visible across the vast reaches of spac

In this new era of Doomspace, survival is not a given; it is a daily struggle, an ongoing battle against the odds. Species and civilizations across the transformed cosmos are pushed to their limits.

The New Celestial Landscape

And then there’s the new celestial landscape, a cosmic tapestry rewritten. Moons like Crios glow with volcanic light, a stark contrast to the dark void left by the collapsed sun. These beacons of light in the darkness become symbols of resilience, shining against all odds. The remnants of the Black Gulf, once a mysterious expanse, are transformed. Patches of this enigmatic space now float like islands in the void, holding secrets and dangers untold. And the once-familiar worlds are now strange landscapes, their features twisted and remade by the cosmic upheaval.

In the chaotic wake of the cosmic cataclysm that shattered the Spherewall, the planet once known as Athas, now rechristened Fyreen, undergoes a transformation so severe it’s as if the planet itself is rebelling against its path. This is no mere shift in climate or a subtle change in the ecosystem; this is a radical upheaval that redefines life on the planet.

Fyreen, a world already notorious for its harshness, now faces a new extreme. The cooling of the planet, an irony not lost on those who have endured the scorching sun, brings with it a dichotomy of survival. The planet, caught in the grip of the Eye of Doom’s influence, experiences intense volcanic activity. This relentless geological turmoil, perhaps a side effect of the planet’s proximity to the cosmic vortex or the ascendancy of Paraelemental Magma, staves off a complete descent into an icy tomb.

In this new, harsher world, the coolest regions become uninhabitable wastelands of frost and ice. Yet, paradoxically, the areas once dreaded for their unbearable heat now become havens. The volcanic regions, with their life-giving warmth, turn into unlikely refuges for those seeking respite from the encroaching cold. The Lava Gorge, once a place of danger, now hosts thriving communities of refugees, their lives illuminated by the glow of molten rock and supported by meager streams of water trickling down from the mountains.

But this is not the Athas as it was known. This is a world teetering on the brink of an even grimmer reality. The mercane and dowars, seizing the opportunity provided by the broken Crystal Sphere, embark on a desperate mission to evacuate thousands. Yet, as is often the case in times of crisis, the efforts are met with resistance and suspicion. The powers that be on Fyreen, clinging to their dwindling domains, hinder these rescue operations, leaving many to fend for themselves in this new, unforgiving world.

The cities of Kurn, Kled, and Tyr witness near-complete evacuations, their populations whisked away to uncertain futures. In stark contrast, the attempts to save those in Urik, the Bandit Kingdoms, and the Kreen Empire are abandoned, a testament to the chaos and desperation of the times.

Those left behind face a reality harsher than any before. The landscape, now shrouded in darkness and dotted with active volcanoes, becomes a land of shadow and fire. Here, the survivors eke out a living in dim light, their world a stark contrast to the Athas of old. The once-mighty sorcerer-monarchs, adapting to this new age, complete their transformation into dragons, becoming even more formidable and terrifying figures in this altered landscape.

Urik, under the rule of Hamanu, the Lion of Light, becomes a beacon in the darkness, its survival ensured by the cruel efficiency of its draconic despot. The templars and slaves toil to redirect the lava flows from the Smoking Crown Mountains, creating a fortress of light and heat in a world growing increasingly dark and cold.

Amidst this upheaval, Andropinis, the Mad Wanderer, once imprisoned in the Black, now roams free. Changed by his experiences, he is a harbinger of doom, his prophecies echoing along the lava flows, a stark reminder of the world’s fragile state.

The Crescent Forest, now the Shadow Crescent, clings to life through the combined efforts of Lalali-Puy and Nibenay. Their magic, a dark pact requiring constant sacrifice, keeps the forest alive against all odds. Yet, as their power wanes, so too does the hope of those who depend on them.

In this so-called Black Age, Dregoth, Lord of the Dead, emerges as a dominant force. His alliance with the Dead Lands solidified, he unleashes waves of the undead upon the land, his ambition reaching beyond the dying planet. His goal is not just the conquest of Fyreen but the consumption of life itself, across worlds and realms unknown. This is a world unrecognizable, a planet where the struggle for survival is etched into every aspect of existence. Fyreen, the new Athas, is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of its inhabitants, a grim parable of life persevering in the face of cosmic adversity.

In this new chapter of Athas’ story, every celestial body, every fragment of the shattered Spherewall, tells a story of change, of loss, and of the relentless will to survive. It’s a universe where the familiar is gone, replaced by a new order that challenges the very concept of existence. This is Doomspace, a realm where the rules have changed, where survival is a feat, and where the story of every planet, moon, and star is a saga of epic proportions.

In this transformed cosmos, where the familiar is rendered alien and the once-stable is now chaotic, the inhabitants of Fyreen and the other celestial bodies in Doomspace grapple with a new reality. It is a reality marked by an unending struggle for survival, where adaptation is not just a trait but a necessity. The tales of these worlds, their heroes and villains, their triumphs and tragedies, become the new legends, the stories passed down through generations. They speak of resilience in the face of unimaginable change, of courage against insurmountable odds, and of the indomitable spirit that defines life in this new era.

As we conclude this saga, it’s clear that the cataclysm that shattered the Spherewall has irrevocably altered the course of history. The universe, once a vast expanse of predictability and order, is now a tapestry of uncertainty and wonder. Amidst this cosmic upheaval, the tales of Doomspace continue to unfold, each a testament to the enduring nature of hope and the unyielding will to persevere. In this new age, where the end was just the beginning, the journey of discovery and survival goes on, an epic narrative in an ever-evolving universe.


Original creator of The Burnt World of Athas back in 1995 or so… Join me @Raddu76 Play Dark Sun with me on Patreon.